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Tour takes students off-line to on-farm

The Fall Farm Tour, sponsored by St. Louis District Dairy Council, was held at the Henrichs Dairy Farm in Breese, Illinois
The Fall Farm Tour, sponsored by St. Louis District Dairy Council, was held at the Henrichs Dairy Farm in Breese, Illinois

BREESE, Ill. — A group of student interns from two local dietetic programs returned to the world of in-person learning as attendees of the sixth annual Fall Farm Tour: Connecting Farm to Food. The educational tour, sponsored by St. Louis District Dairy Council, brought them to Henrichs Dairy Farm in Breese, Illinois. The group included students from Fontbonne University and the Veterans Administration Medical Center, both located in St. Louis, Missouri.

In light of COVID-related restrictions, this year’s tour was a welcomed opportunity to safely engage in the real-life experience of a dairy farm. “We’ve expanded many programs to include virtual dairy education, but this initiative is grounded in the value of actually being on the farm to see, hear, and even smell all-things-dairy,” said Monica Nyman, senior nutrition educator with the SLDDC.

Being outside and socially distant gave the group the opportunity to see what goes into producing high-quality milk on a dairy farm every day. It also provided a chance to speak directly with farmer Bryan Henrichs about everything from cow care to milk labeling claims. “We always say that if you have questions about food, you should ask those who grow it. Hearing it from a farmer like Bryan goes a long way in helping consumers feel connected to farming,” Nyman said.

The tour is one of many ways the non-profit organization engages students from preschool through graduate school with dairy. Since 1932, SLDDC has served as the local dairy promotion group, charged with keeping the dairy story relevant in consumers’ minds. “Before this year, most people didn’t realize that farmers are essential workers. The fact that what they do every day on their farms helps to keep the grocery store shelves stocked was an eye-opener for many. This tour shows first-hand how local dairy farmers make that happen,” Nyman said.

The students met Henrichs’ Holstein herd, walked through the calf and heifer barns, then the milking parlor and milk tank room. The tour ended in the feeding barn, showing the nutrition students the attention given to the herd’s unique nutrition needs. The questions, however, continued as Bryan showcased his passion for animal care, while highlighting the safety and quality checks throughout his farm.

St. Louis District Dairy Council’s Fall Farm Tour is held with local dietetic internship programs every year.

For more information on the Fall Farm Tour, email mnyman@stldairycouncil.org or call St. Louis District Dairy Council at 314-835-9668.

For more information on dairy foods, visit www.stldairycouncil.org.

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